This article contains opinion.
It’s a topic of discussion every year for a certain demographic.
The unofficial holiday of April 20, or 4/20.
For many cannabis enthusiasts, this day is a special time of the year. It’s a time to celebrate the plant of cannabis, the positivity in all its use and the fight for change in the drug policies across the country. Originally widespread due to an internal clock for a single group of smokers, the term has now been associated with various rumors of how it originated.
“Honestly, I don’t know what 4/20 means,” Janelle Berry (senior, interior design) said. "Does it have something to do with relieving stress or just a day for everyone to celebrate weed?”
“I don’t smoke, but I’m familiar with the importance of the holiday with our youth,” said Akinola Olabode, an IUP graduate student.
Some say it splices with the mythical afternoon tea time in Holland, and others have associated the holiday with the number of chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. The legend has also been credited to celebrities such as Bob Marley and his birth date or the deaths of Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix.
Though these are fictitious to say the least, the origin of 4/20 was created from a group of students who attended San Rafael High School, just 30 minutes north of San Francisco. The students, nicknamed “the Waldos” due to the visual of their “deemed” hangout spot close to the school, received a map from a U.S. Coast Guardsman’s brother-in-law. He passed on to the students the map of an abandoned cannabis patch near Point Reyes Lighthouse.
Why would a government official do such a thing, you may ask?
The U.S. Coast Guardsman unofficially left his duties of guarding the cannabis patch in the forest near Point Reyes Peninsula, and due to fear of his commanding officer finding out about this, he passed the map of the patch on to his relative Bill McNulty, who gave it to the Waldos to collect the cannabis and cover-up the Coast Guardsman’s mistake.
“I had no idea about The Waldos,” Kiera Blue (sophomore) said. “I think that’s actually a cool story. Many of my friends smoke, but I bet they don’t even know that story when they celebrate 4/20.”
The Waldos were athletes and planned to meet after school practices to search for the lost cannabis patch and chose the time 4:20 p.m. The students allegedly smoked large amounts of cannabis before going into the forest to search for the patch.
The five friends all lead professional lives but still keep in contact to this day. You can find out more about the group and their recent endeavors on their website 420waldos.com. They are proud of their contribution to the cannabis community and are pleased that their internal clock is celebrated by so many around the world.
“I think it’s a good holiday for people who smoke,” Ezabella Jioio (sophomore, marketing) said. “I think it brings unity. I see people become a lot more peaceful and nicer around the time of 4/20.
“I think so many people indulge in marijuana or cannabis that it should have significant holiday, just to highlight the good things about cannabis. Stuff like no one has lost their life or displayed insane behavior due to cannabis.”
But it’s not for everyone.
“I think the holiday is a waste of time kind of,” James Watson, (psychology) said. “Not to offend anyone, but isn’t it a made-up holiday anyway? Like what happens that’s so special?”
Believe it or not, but IUP has a cannabis community, and it will be celebrating the holiday this upcoming Saturday. The holiday has been consequently peaceful, and those who join in to attend a cannabis-themed concert or simply enjoy the plant with friends and family preach about the camaraderie associated with the unofficial holiday.